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Forest Coverage Rate Doubles in Half Century

China's forest coverage rate has almost doubled in the past 50 years to reach 16.55 percent from 8.6 percent, according to a forum on forest and environmental protection on Wednesday.

Addressing the forum in Beijing, Li Yucai, vice-director of the State Forestry Administration, said China had planted trees on 46 million hectares of land in the 1949-98 period, ranking first in the world.

The total forested area in China had reached 158 million hectares by 1998, ranking fifth in the world, said the vice-director.

China has launched 10 large afforestation campaigns since late 1978, including the shelter belt in the vast northern part of China which stretches from northwest China to northeast China, and shelter belts in the country's coastal areas and the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River.

During the past five years, 2.9 million hetares of artificial forests has been planted each year in 10 projects, Li said.

He said 27 percent of urban China is covered with vegetation, compared with 10 percent two decades ago.

Under a program unveiled recently, China plans to increase its forest coverage rate to 26 percent by 2050.

The program was designed to curb the deterioration of the country's environment, and increase its forest resources and vegetation for sustainable economic and social developments in the country.

(People's Daily 09/05/2001)

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